0 of 3
Michael Conroy/Associated Press
The AFC South side was the dominant team in the first half of Thursday night’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals. The home squad came charging out of the locker room and outscored the Jags 24-7 in the last two quarters.
Even though the Jags dropped to 0-4, there should be more positivity in the team facility as it builds up to Week 5.
Lawrence looks more comfortable in the offense by the week, and the defense is improving a bit.
Jacksonville now has 10 days to clean up the mistakes made in the second half to prepare for the Week 5 divisional showdown with the Tennessee Titans.
1 of 3
Emilee Chinn/Associated Press
Lawrence looked more relaxed in his fourth NFL start.
The 21-year-old is gaining more experience as the weeks go on, and Jacksonville has adjusted its offensive game plan.
The Jaguars put in more run-pass options for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft. He succeeded with those plays during his time at Clemson.
Jacksonville’s staff made Lawrence freer in the pocket, and it worked in the first half. The Jags put together scoring drives of eight and 12 plays, and it had another drive reach the Cincinnati one-yard-line.
Lawrence finished with 36 rushing yards and a touchdown to go along with his 204 passing yards. He was 17-of-24 in the pocket and was only sacked twice.
Some improvements still have to be made, especially in the second half, since Lawrence led the Jags on a single scoring drive during Cincinnati’s comeback.
Jacksonville was forced to punt on two of its final three drives, and that aided in the Bengals working back from a two-score deficit.
Something similar happened in Week 3’s loss to the Arizona Cardinals. That game was flipped on its head by Byron Murphy’s interception return for a touchdown at the end of the third quarter.
Lawrence now needs to learn how to finish games in the NFL. That responsibility lies on him in the pocket and the coaching staff for putting him in the right spots to succeed.
2 of 3
Dylan Buell/Getty Images
The Jaguars overcomplicated their last play call of the first half.
With the ball at the Cincinnati one-yard-line, Lawrence lined up in the shotgun and then ran a quarterback option in which he kept the ball and was tackled short of the goal line.
Lawrence could have easily lined up under center and used a quarterback sneak to score the team’s third touchdown of the half.
Instead, the Jags went back to the shotgun option they called multiple times in the first half, and the Bengals were finally prepared to stop it.
Cincinnati came close to stonewalling a similar play on Jacksonville’s second touchdown drive, but Lawrence juked out Sam Hubbard on the right edge.
The fourth-down stop allowed the Bengals to gain a sliver of confidence. They came out of the locker room and went right down the field to score their first touchdown.
Cincinnati tied the game after a punt on Jacksonville’s first second-half drive, and it was a different game after that.
If the Jags found the end zone for a third time in the first half, they may have buried the Bengals and have had a chance to run down the clock with a successful rushing attack, like they did for parts of the first two quarters.
3 of 3
Michael Conroy/Associated Press
Jacksonville allowed over 300 passing yards for the third consecutive week.
During that span, the passing-yard concession has gone up from 302 against the Denver Broncos in Week 2 to the 342 yards allowed on Thursday night.
Joe Burrow was able to do whatever he wanted in the passing game during the Bengals’ second-half comeback.
Jacksonville attempted to take away Burrow’s rhythm by shadowing Ja’Marr Chase. The second-year quarterback answered that by utilizing C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Boyd in a variety of ways.
Uzomah caught a pair of touchdowns, and he made the final big offensive play to set up Evan McPherson’s game-winning field goal. Boyd caught nine of his 11 targets for 118 yards.
On Sunday, the Jaguars were hurt by Arizona’s secondary receiving options. A.J. Green and Christian Kirk both had 100-yard performances.
In the time between now and the Week 5 clash with Tennessee, the Jaguars need to find a fix to the high concessions in the passing game.
If they do not solve those issues, it may not matter what Lawrence and the offense can do moving forward because there will be little help from the other side of the ball.